WIBDQ #2: A Blast From The Past—Analog to Digital Video Converter

I have to admit, it was difficult to transition from my hectic daily routine to having virtually no responsibilities. I quickly realized that I took the freedoms in my “normal” life for granted. As a constantly busy person, I now felt uncomfortable having all of this free time, and immediately felt the need to make a long to-do list of things to do to occupy my time.

This list was long and quite diverse. I wrote down every single task that I’ve ignored doing in the past. From deep cleaning my shoes (aka wiping the muck off from going to bars) to improving my French on Rosetta Stone (it’s free right now for K-12 and college students!), I was determined to use quarantine in the most productive way possible.

I’ve gotten through a good chunk of this list, but I’ve had my lazy days where I basically do nothing but stare at the ceiling for hours. I’ve felt guilty about being unproductive, but I quickly realized that it’s actually okay to not be productive all the time. I’ve read a bunch of articles to affirm this—we’re literally in the midst of a traumatic, global event, so it’s okay if you’re not productive all the time. Especially when you’re stuck at home.


At the beginning of quarantine, I briefly went to my mom’s apartment to collect a bunch of old stuff for my mini-projects. One daunting project that I’ve had on my list was to digitize the files on my dad’s old video camcorder from the 90s. These precious video files live on 8mm cassette tapes, and I was motivated to figure out a way to have a digital copy.

I consider myself a pretty knowledgable person when it comes to technology, but I was dealing with a video camera that was older than me. This video camera was not only ancient, but is extremely bulky, with a million cords and inputs.

This project has been on my list since day 1 of quarantine, and I just successfully accomplished it by day 34. The Elgato Video Capture – Digitize Video for Mac, PC, or iPad (USB 2.0) was extremely easy to use, and I’m looking forward to converting more old cassette tapes in the future.

SHIPPING SPEED: 4.5/5.

Amazon has slowed down their Prime shipping speed due to COVID-19. Instead, Amazon is prioritizing the delivery of the more essential goods. My video converter was considered non-essential—rightfully so—and it took weeks to come in.

When I finally received my $20 converter, it was incompatible with my Macbook, which is running on the newer Catalina software. After doing more research and returning the old converter, I caved and purchased the $90 converter that was “guaranteed” to work with my Mac.

The Elgato converter actually took a surprisingly short amount of time to come. I received it in 3-4 days, which given the current situation at hand, wasn’t too long. Because it’s a more expensive product, it has a higher priority to ship faster than other converters.

BRAND ANALYSIS: 5/5.

I mentioned in my last blog post that I have been trying to purchase more “ethical” and “local” products to help small businesses out during this time. Well, this goal is impossible when it comes to technology, and especially for video converters. I know that Amazon has profited billions of dollars over the past month with the rise of sales… For the sake of this post, I am going to review Elgato as the brand, rather than discuss the questionable morals of Amazon as a corporation.

I was thoroughly impressed by Elgato and how clear the instructions were for using their converter. It’s a USB converter, so anyone can use it. You also have to download their free software off the website, which again, was simple and just took a couple of minutes.

They also seem to have a great customer service platform if you have any questions. Elgato made this whole process for me extremely easy. The other video converters I was looking at were complicated and had sketchy and out-of-date websites.

PRODUCT QUALITY: 5/5.

This product was outstanding and didn’t give me a headache to figure out. You simply insert the USB into your computer, hook up the video (red) and audio (white) cables from the converter to your device, and play back the video on the software.

I rewinded my cassette to the very beginning, and there was about 31 minutes of footage on the tape. I was then able to record the video and audio as an MP4 file to my computer. It will take the same amount of time to download as footage time, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

OVERALL THOUGHTS:

Although the product itself was expensive, these memories are priceless. It was totally worth the $90 to have this footage on a more stable and permanent viewing platform. I’m so glad I was able to convert my analog video that’s quite useless in this day and age. I have some experience in audiovisual technology from attending tradeshows with the rAVe Agency, but even if you’re a complete technology noob, I promise you can do this, too.

My father picked up this video camera around the time I was born (late 1998) and recorded my older siblings and I for a solid five years. At this time, my family resided in Southern California. Naturally, I don’t remember much from this time in my life, but it was so cool to see my parents and siblings so young.

Some precious memories recorded include: me being fed out of a baby bottle, me reaching for the Sprite can when I was just months old, me reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and my ABCs when I was a toddler, and my siblings and I performing dances to songs for my parents.

This was one of my favorite quarantine-friendly activities that I’ve accomplished thus far. I realized that without this ample amount of time at home, I would have never found the time to digitize these home videos.

Overall, the Elgato video converter was a successful quarantine purchase. I have no regrets.

The setup.

WIBDQ #1: Yes, I Spent $100 at Glossier

It was one of my New Year’s Resolutions to blog more frequently.

Listen, I won’t make any excuses for not posting a single time in 2020…and now it’s mid-April. But since we’re stuck at home, and indefinitely for that matter, what better time to start blogging again than during a global pandemic?

In all seriousness, I was struggling to start writing again because I felt like I had nothing to talk about anymore. I spent so many nights during quarantine prepping myself to write just one blog—I gave up every single time.

When I started this website in my Branding of Me class, I wanted the world to know me better by sharing bits and pieces of my life. Through it all, I discovered that there was one topic that I loved writing about the most: travel.

Travel is something that I literally cannot stop talking about. And that’s exactly how I knew that I wanted to make travel into my full-time career. After graduation, I will be writing for The Points Guy, a travel blog and website with millions of followers.

While I have been mourning the trips I’ve had to cancel because of the coronavirus, I have decided to stop sulking and start writing. While the travel posts will be more infrequent because of the severe lack of trips in my life, I want to start a new spinoff series in my blog: What I Bought During Quarantine (WIBDQ).


When I’m not traveling, I love to shop. I try to spend my money wisely—emphasis on “try.” Lately, I have been prioritizing spending my money on higher quality goods that will last me longer. But of course, that comes at a higher price tag. Embarrassingly enough, I’ve had a package show up at my doorstep almost every single day for the past four weeks. I make myself feel better knowing that I am helping stimulate the economy during these difficult times, along with all the nights I order takeout to help support local restaurants…

Anyway, to kick off this series, I want to start off with some products I purchased from the lovely, Glossier.com. I’ve tried some of their products in the past. I found a few favorites (the cloud paint and boy brow? iconic), and a couple of not-so-favorites. Not every product can be perfect, of course, and there’s so much more to try. Somehow I ended up with six products in my cart, totaling $99.97.

Every WIBDQ post will have the same metrics on a scale of 1-5: shipping speed (important when you’re impatient and want your stuff ASAP), brand analysis (in my increasing efforts to support ethical/local/American-made businesses), product quality (is it worth it to drop your hard-earned cash on this stuff?), and finally, my overall thoughts. I hope you enjoy this series, and if there’s a product you think I should try next, let me know. I am way too easily convinced to buy things during quarantine.

SHIPPING SPEED: 5/5.

Standard shipping is free when you spend over $30—that’s like buying two products, which is extremely easy to do. I placed my order on a Tuesday, and UPS delivered my goods by Friday. All mail services are heavily overloaded by the rise of online shoppers currently, so I was definitely impressed with Glossier’s fast, free shipping.

BRAND ANALYSIS: 5/5.

How exactly did I justify blowing $100 on Glossier during quarantine? Simply put, Glossier is a woman-led, American-made cosmetics company with kick-ass branding. As an advertising student, I totally see how this company was able to cultivate such a cult-like following in the few years of its existence. Glossier sells all of their products online, but they also have a few brick-and-mortar stores in NYC, LA, Atlanta, and London. I visited the NYC store all the time when I lived in the city last summer. Glossier has managed to hype up the mere experience of being in the store, that there is almost always a line to get in. It’s like the Disneyworld of makeup: the branding efforts of the store are absolutely stellar, leading to its wild success on social media. Talk about top-notch experiential marketing.

Glossier sets itself apart from the thousands of cosmetics brands out there by being minimalistic yet feminine. Minimalism not just in the sense of clean packaging—the products themselves enhances and emphasizes natural beauty. You won’t find any crazy colors or full-coverage products at Glossier. Best of all, Glossier products are all hypoallergenic, vegan, ophthalmologist-tested, dermatologist-tested, paraben-free and cruelty-free. The list goes on.

Also, as an aspiring copywriter, Glossier has extremely clever copy. This is incredibly important to connect with young millennial or Gen-Z audiences.

PRODUCT QUALITY: 4.5/5

Now to the fun stuff. I bought the rose balm dotcom, generation G, lip gloss, brow flick, boy brow, and super bounce. Here are some thoughts on each product.

rose balm dotcom universal skin salve: $12. One of their most popular products. It’s a lip balm, but really can be used anywhere you have dry skin. There are eight different flavors, but I bought the rose because it’s lightly fragrant, sheerly-tinted, which is perfect for day-to-day use on my lips. And yes, this stuff really IS the BOMB DOTCOM. Unlike other chapsticks that dry your lips out, the balm dotcom keeps your lips hydrated all-day. The tint is VERY sheer, so if you are looking for more color on your lips, I’d recommend following up with the generation G.

generation G sheer matte lipstick in crush: $18. I am not a fan of lipstick, or lip products for that matter. All I really need is some good chapstick. But the generation G is a moisturizing, sheer lip product that gives your lips some LIFE. The color ‘crush’ is perfect for the spring + summer time, for that weightless, effortless look.

lip gloss in clear: $14. Again, I don’t like lip products. Who knew that I’d be buying a lip gloss at 21 years old? I think the last time I wore lip gloss was at a middle school dance. But Glossier’s lip gloss is the perfect combination of tacky while not being overly sticky, and glossy while not being overly shiny. It gives my lips a natural plumping effect.

brow flick microfine detailing pen in brown: $18. This is a revolutionary brow product. It’s super precise as you can mimic the look of individual brow hairs, all while looking natural. It is quickly becoming a staple in my everyday makeup routine. As a long time user of Anastasia brow products, I might just have to switch to this forever.

boy brow grooming pomade in brown: $16. This is my third time purchasing this product, and I have been impressed every time. This is great for a natural and effortless brow look that takes five seconds to put on in the morning. The product consistency is slightly tacky, ensuring longevity throughout the day. Because I have very sparse brows, I typically fill in my brows with a normal eyebrow pencil and follow up with the boy brow to set everything in place. My only complaint is that this product is tiny and will only last you a couple of months with consistent use.

super bounce hypaluronic acid + vitamin B5 serum: $28. This is the most expensive product of the bunch, and it’s actually the only skincare product I’ve ever bought from Glossier. I know I’ve only tried this serum for a couple of days, but I am OBSESSED! I always thought skin serums were for old ladies… but put this on after washing your face and before applying your moisturizer, and your skin will thank you. My skin has never looked so healthy and youthful. My mom always told me that taking care of your skin while young will do wonders when you’re older. And I trust her, because she’s a queen at 52 years old and has almost no wrinkles.

OVERALL THOUGHTS:

Glossier is an iconic brand that’s obviously doing something right.

When you’re stuck at home, it’s so important to prioritize self-care, whether that be through your skincare or makeup routine. Don’t get me wrong—I understand makeup is totally unnecessary during quarantine. But for me, putting on a few Glossier products has made me feel infinitely better about myself on the days when I’m feeling especially lazy.

Their price range is somewhat affordable, sitting in between the middle of cheap drugstore products to high-end cosmetics. However, the cost of these products can add up, so I recommend buying their sets if you want to save money. They bundle some of their most popular products together at a discount; in this particular order, I bought “The Core Lip Collection” and “Boy Brow + Brow Flick Duo,” which helped me save $9 and $4, respectively.

AND, if you want to save 10% on your order, shop through this link. You won’t regret it.

All Glossier products worn (except mascara) featured in this blog.